Strawberry Shortcake (a Canada Day dessert!)

Is it a coincidence that Canada Day falls right in the middle of strawberry season, or is it destiny? It's probably both. Last year, I made Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake for Canada Day and it was a big hit with the family, but this year, for Canada's 150th birthday, I'm going with something light, fun, fruity + interactive that's perfect for a sit-down dinner or backyard barbecue.

Strawberry Shortcake. It's a great make-ahead dessert, since you can make the biscuits and slice the strawberries up to a day in advance, then just whip up some lightly sweetened cream right before you're ready to serve. It's much less prep for you too - put out the different components, and let your guests assemble their own desserts with as much whipped cream + fruit as they want. 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter (8 Tbsp, 1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup cream 
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar, or raw sugar if you have it
  • 1lb strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1-2 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 and prep a baking tray by greasing it or putting down parchment paper or a silicone mat.

For the biscuits, combine the first four dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add in the cold butter: you can grate frozen butter, or use a pastry blender to blend the butter into the dry ingredients until it reaches a crumbly consistency.

In a small bowl (or measuring cup) mix the cream with the egg yolks and vanilla, then slowly stir the liquids into the dry ingredients. Mix this just until it comes together into a slightly sticky dough - don't overwork it! 

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, knead it a little bit if you find it's not mixed totally, and pat out to about 1/2 an inch thickness. Cut out your biscuits in whatever shape you like; I realized I only own very decorative cookie cutters (moose, dog bones, farm animals?) so I used a drinking glass to cut out circles. 

Put the biscuits onto your baking tray. Brush them with just a little melted butter and sprinkle with sugar for a nice finish. Put the biscuits in the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until they've risen and are turning golden on top. Take out of the oven and let them cool completely before assembling!

For the strawberries:

Slice 1 pound of fresh strawberries, sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of sugar, and let sit in the fridge until you're ready to use them.

For the whipped cream:

I definitely recommend a stand mixer for this part; I've made whipped cream by hand before, and it's hard work! Whip 3/4 cup of cream with 1-2 Tbsp confectioners sugar (to taste) and 1/2 tsp of vanilla until it reaches soft peaks. Don't overwhip it, or you'll end up with butter! Delicious, but not so great on shortcakes. 

Assembly:

Slice a shortcake biscuit in half, top with a generous scoop of strawberries and a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Enjoy!

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